Expert Consultation on High-Altitude Rangelands and Their Interfaces

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An expert consultation meeting on Research and Management Priorities for High Altitude Rangelands and their Interfaces aimed at developing a plan for high-altitude ecosystem monitoring, services evaluation, and management measures to enhance ecosystem resilience and the adaptive capacity of local communities was organized by ICIMOD in Pokhara, Nepal, 10-11 December. The workshop promoted the development of baseline studies with partner institutions to support scientific understanding, conservation, and effective management of high-altitude ecosystem interfaces in the HKH region as well as the integration of rangeland conservation and co-management, climate change adaptation strategies, and transboundary cooperation in conservation and development activities. During the workshop, participants developed an action plan to carry forward collaboration with partner institutions for future mitigation and adaptation measures and encouraged the development of projects in collaboration with institutions in regional member countries to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of communication, participation, and awareness about the conservation and management of rangelands and their interfaces. 

Over 26 experts representing various governments, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions from Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom participated in the workshop. The workshop was divided into five sessions including technical sessions on the status of wetland ecosystems, a review of the issues and challenges in the management of rangeland ecosystems, and on the impacts of climate change and human intervention on the timberline ecotone. The opening session began with welcome remarks by Dr Gopal Rawat, Deputy Programme Manager, Environmental Conservation and Ecosystem Services (ECES) at ICIMOD, followed by a keynote presentation on Ecosystem Services in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region by Prof. Wu Ning, Programme Manager, ECES.  Seventeen presentations were made during three technical sessions chaired by Dr Yi Shaoliang, Prof. Shi Peili, Dr Henri Rueff. Dr Abdul Wahid Jasra and Dr Yan Zhaoli facilitated group work on research and monitoring and management and policy, respectively. 

During the workshop, a road map for collaborative research, monitoring, and more effective management of high-altitude rangelands and their interfaces was developed and participants prioritized rangeland research and management activities. Concluding the workshop, Prof. Wu Ning reiterated the need for more focused research and monitoring activities in high-altitude rangelands and called for continued collaboration with partner institutions and experts working in the HKH region.